On October 20, 2016, a South Carolina medical malpractice jury rendered a verdict in the amount of $1,500,000 in favor of the estate of a 41-year-old man whom the jury found to have been the victim of emergency room malpractice that led to his untimely death. The defendant was the for-profit corporation that employed the emergency room physician who was found to have been negligent. The defendant emergency room physicians practice contracted with the local South Carolina hospital to provide emergency room physician services in the hospital’s emergency department.
The man was employed as a project engineer in South Carolina when on January 11, 2013, he returned to the office after providing services in the field. Late in the afternoon, the man told his co-workers that his left leg had suddenly become numb and that he was experiencing severe pain. An ambulance was called and the man was transported to the emergency room of the local hospital.
The triage nurse in the emergency room reported that the man was complaining that his pain was 10 out of 10, and that he had numbness in his left leg. Despite his recorded complaints, the emergency room physician determined the man’s symptoms to be “moderate,” failed to order certain medical testing to determine the cause of his serious symptoms, and discharged the man to home that same day (a Friday) with instructions to follow up with an orthopedist after the weekend. The emergency room physician diagnosed the man as having a pinched nerve with leg pain.
The following afternoon, while he was at home, the man’s leg numbness progressed to total numbness along with severe pain. The man was transported to another South Carolina hospital where it was immediately determined that the man’s left leg was ischemic because of the lack of proper blood flow in his leg. Due to the seriousness of the man’s condition, it was determined that he should be transported by helicopter to a larger hospital that could provide him with the necessary care and treatment that he urgently needed. Unfortunately, heavy fog in the area prevented the helicopter from being dispatched for the transport, which left the only option being an ambulance that would take much longer.
The man died in the ambulance while he was being transported.
The plaintiff’s South Carolina medical malpractice wrongful death claims were supported by two surgeons who testified as experts at trial that had the proper care and treatment been provided to the man when he was seen in the emergency room on Friday, he had a 90% probability of survival. The plaintiff’s South Carolina medical malpractice attorney told the jury that a simple, sixteen-dollar blood test during the initial emergency room visit would have determined the cause and seriousness of the man’s medical condition. It was not lost on the South Carolina medical malpractice jury that the man was charged over $1,400 for the initial emergency room visit.
If you or a family member suffered serious injury as a result of emergency room misdiagnosis in South Carolina or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a local medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your emergency room medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your family member in a medical malpractice case against the hospital and/or the emergency room physician, if appropriate.
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